RESEARCH – November 2008

Chance of receiving health behaviour related physician for daily smokers and for overweight individuals


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AIM. The objective of the study was to analyse the chance of receiving certain physician recommendations aimed at changing the relevant health behaviour of adult daily smokers and overweight/obese (BMI ≥25) individuals in Estonia.
METHODS. Postal questionnaire surveys in 2004 and 2006, random sample (Estonian residents aged 16–64 years) from the national population register. The chance of receiving relevant recommendations was assessed by the odds ratio (and its 95% confidence interval) adjusted to all other background variables and calculated using the method of logistic regression.
RESULTS. There were altogether 5941 respondents. The number of men who smoked every day exceeded the number of the corresponding women more than two times, overweight/obesity occurred slightly more among men. Among the daily smokers who had visited a physician in the past 12 months, 26.5% of the men and 24.7% of the women received  the recommendation to quit smoking; recommendations related to a change in body weight (more healthy diet, loss of weight, increase in physical activity) were provided even less frequently – to 11.2–18.1% of the overweight/obese men and to 13.3–22.5% of the corresponding women. The chance of receiving such recommendations was significantly higher for individuals with elevated blood pressure and low self-assessment of health, i.e., for  diseased individuals. Women did not receive significantly more advice than men; the age and education of the patients had minor influence on receiving relevant advice.
CONCLUSION. The chance of receiving health behaviour-related recommendations from a physician in Estonia was the highest for diseased individuals. Disease prevention requires far more attention than has been given so far to this issue.